When I was listening to Disc 2 of the Very Best of Jerry Garcia, the Garcia cover of the Beatles song Dear Prudence brought me back in time. Though this is a good version of the song and worth the listen, a better recording was made by the most under appreciated jam band of all time- God Street Wine- at their final show.
Recently listed at #855 on the Greatest Bands of All Time by WXPN Philadelphia, God Street Wine splashed onto the music scene in the early 90s, playing their final show on December 23rd 1999- I was there. A couple of friends and I hopped a train to The Wetlands in New York City to see the end of an era (which is Immortalized on the 2-CD Good To The Last Drop). Sadly, the venue closed its doors only a year later.
The final GSW show was the longest concert I have ever been to. The guitarist/singer Aaron Maxwell, who has a voice that makes you wanna cry, brought his father on the stage to perform trumpet with the band for a rendition of Dear Prudence. Having Maxwell pay tribute to his father, a music professor, was a special moment in the show. And though the performance is not flawless, the sheer emotion conveyed in the live recording makes this particular version unparalleled. However, this was not the only special moment in the show- The band must have played for 5 hours. And even when they played their last notes at 4 a.m. The fans still wanted more.
Though they did play a reunion show in 2001, band members have moved on. Lo Faber, lead guitarist and lead singer along with Mawell, has embarked on a whole new journey as a PhD student in history at Princeton University. I wonder if his classmates know the impact that Faber made on people. Check out this post calling God Street Wine “the best American Band from the 1990s.”
I recently visited amazon.com and saw that all GSW albums are currently out of print and available from resellers (often for pennies). $1.99 Romances, God Street Wine, and Red are worth picking up. God Street are among the best Jam Bands ever. Yes, ever. For reasons (mostly by record companies and such), GSW did not get the attention that others from the era received such as Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler, and The Spin Doctors. However, GSW can easily compete with any of these bands. Moe., Umphry’s McGee, String Cheese Incident all owe it GSW for helping pave the way. Now it is time for a new generation of listeners to check out God Street Wine.
So, I’ve been searching the web for the last remnants of GSW. The best resource is archive.org. You can still download God Street Wine shows there, there are 23 total. Here are some live recordings of some of my favorite God Street Wine songs thanks to archive.org.
GSW, we miss you. If these tracks peak your interest in GSW, please let me know.